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Camel World  



Travel Diary - 2003
5 January | Senegal
22 January |Gambia
18 January |Guinea
9 February | Mali
22 February | Burkina Faso
3 March | Ghana
19 March | Togo
20 March | Benin
25 March | Niger
12 April | Chad
15 April | Cameroon
16 April | Nigeria
30 April | Congo
24 May | RDC
31 May | Angola
5 June | Namibia
27 June | South Africa
30 August | Lesotho
10 September | Swaziland
9 October | Botswana
17 October | Namibia
19 October |
29 October | Malawi
4 November |Mozambique
16 November | Tanzania
12 December | Rwanda
16 December | RDC
18 December | Uganda
24 December | Kenya

Travel Diary - 2004
9 January | Ethiopia
6 February | Sudan
21 February | Saudi Arabia
23 February | Jordan
3 March | Syria
5 March | Turkey
12 March | Greece
21 March | ...And Home


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17 months, 43 countries, and 2 vehicles

Saudi Arabia

A Different Continent

So that was Africa. And this is all new. In the morning everything seems to be efficient, new shiny, even. You can't drive your car off - it's a bus to an arrivals terminal. Then you wait to be processed after the Saudis, and chase after your car which has hopefully arrived around the corner.

The officials seemed pretty switched on and a few spoke enough English to be really helpful - the customs fee was pretty reasonable at about $15, and armed with a sheaf of incomprehensible paperwork I set off to look for the Land Rover garage. At least something of Africa made it across to Jeddah - they were a waste of space - the alternator failure would cost $70 just to look at, and even then they had no parts , and they'd take a month to arrive etc. etc... I beat a hasty retreat. Down the road I found Adam Amos in the BMW garage - he lent me a Philippino mechanic who was pretty switched on - but before he even got started  found the problem was a sheared connecter at the emergency cut-out switch - shame I hadn't seen it before. In ten minutes I was back on the road again, thankfully with music again!

Another Desert Crossing

This one, though, is along perfect asphalt roads with gas stations every few clicks where gas is $10 a tankful. Usually there's a restaurant that does simple but good food for 4-5 Real - or at least not more than $2. And shops with stock again! It was great to browses through a well stocked confectionary shelf again - mini-Twix rule!

I drove towards Al Medina, a closed city for me as a non-Muslim, and continued almost without break until dusk. I found a quiet spot to camp off the road, with the reluctant consent of the neighbours and their dogs. Then it was up at dawn for more of the same.

My second night was spent on a farm with Mohammed, a Bangladeshi, who was a fine fellow. Strange things happened that night though - I was woken at 23:30 by a couple of 4x4s and a bunch of guys offering their services - I think  they thought I had problems. At length I explained that I was fine, and turning down their offers of help and money, returned to my bed... hospitality, it seems, is very much part of the culture.

The following day I stopped for a bit of shopping - it's cheap as hell and I managed to find a new 12v kettle as well as a roll-up aluminium table for $12 - it was time for another border crossing... and to Jordan